Taking Pride in Vintage Handmade Products

Dorothy B. Smith discusses how artisans of yore took pride in their work and how their vintage handmade products have held up with time.


| May/June 1967



Beach buggy

Photo courtesy of L. Clare Carpenter, Guys Mills, Pennsylvania.

PHOTO: L. CLARE CARPENTER

The Ladies Page talks about vintage handmade products of yesteryear. 

Did you ever wonder why almost everything made in the olden days were initialed and dated? It was because almost everything was made by the one who initialed it; the date was added because everyone was aware of the times in which he lived and because he was proud of his accomplishment.

In these modern times, everything a person needs may be purchased in a store, there are very few vintage handmade products left. We are robbed of that rare and wonderful satisfaction that comes from personal accomplishment. In early times, nearly every single thing which a person used was a product of his own efforts. He made the cloth for the clothing he wore, the food he ate (no frozen food available), the chair he sat in and the bed he slept in. These people were very inventive. They knew that they had to do things for themselves if they were to survive. They knew wood intimately; they knew the ingredients of the food they ate; the medicines which made them well; the ink they wrote with; all because they grew it, ground it and mixed it. It was this awareness of everything about them, that made the American pioneer so full of inner satisfaction, so grateful for life and what went with it. In this modern world, we take all of this for granted and forget the wonders of life.

Right now, Paul is very interested in the making of flour. He has heard that some of the reunions feature grinding and selling whole wheat flour and corn meal. He would be interested in hearing from any of you who have had experience in this line. Think it would be quite an attraction. I wouldn't be at all surprised if any day he came in with some flour for me to bake some bread. I have a recipe all ready. Think you will like it too!

Brown Bread Recipe

2 tbsp. shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1 tsp. soda
1/2 cup white flour
1 1/2 cup graham flour (or whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp. salt.
 

Mix in order listed. Bake 40 minutes in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven.